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June 12, 2009
The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - Summer Daze
All week, I've been having this problem. Even at just the tender age of 21, I've begun to feel my age a bit. I'll let some of the more geriatric among you (those over the age of 30) finish your belly laughs before I continue. All week I've been driving home from work past KeyArena and watching kids walk to the now-vacant arena to receive their high school diplomas, and all that's on my mind is that these kids are just going to wreak havoc and drive their fast horseless carriages and buy extra long bed sheets to move into their dorms. Damn kids with nothing to do in the summer all they'll do is cause trouble.
Of course that sounds rather familiar to my college experience. So maybe I'm not really as old as I think I am. When I had no schoolwork to do in Pullman all I generally did was cause trouble. From turning the heater down from 70 to 68 and stealing an old abandoned traffic cone, I'm a regular Dennis the Menace. But why is it that college athletes find the need to get themselves in actual trouble. Trouble that can get them arrested and put in the clink? And why is it that the frequency of this only seems to increase exponentially (there my college education at work) when the summer rolls around? Probably because these kids have nothing better to do.
Case in point: the Cougar football team. Freshman safeties Tyree Toomer and LeAndre Daniels were arrested for alleged theft of bicycles from the WSU campus. Combine this with the recent arrest of Xavier Hicks for driving with a suspended license and you have quite the summer of discontent in Pullman. Silly me, I thought that kind of behavior only occurred in the winter months.
For Hicks, this is it. It really needs to be. An example needs to be set that unlawful and unruly behavior will not be tolerated by this football team. The long and very short of it: Hicks needs to go. He may be one of the best players in the secondary currently listed on the roster but this type of behavior repeated over and over again tells me he isn't learning. If you are Paul Wulff and his staff, this is one of the worst possible examples you could have on your team of leadership for your incoming freshman. As far as Toomer and Daniels go, their suspension from the team is warranted and that's really all that needs to be done until the Whitman County prosecutor decides what they want to do. Needless to say, I'd like to know exactly what these two guys were thinking. And it better be a more satisfying explanation than they were bored.
This plague of disobedience isn't just infecting the Palouse. It has spread to many other parts of the country where the football boosters are shadier than that guy you bought the fake Rolex from in New York. Down near Graceland, there appears to be a problem with the SAT scores of some of the basketball players with accusations that people other than the players took their tests. I wonder how this happened given that before each exam they ask for your identification to prove you are who you say you are. The proctor I had foiled my plans of intentionally tanking the test when I told him I was Jake Locker and he didn't believe me. Then again though, does this revelation about Memphis really surprise us given the greasy, Italian mob looking hair of their former coach John Calipari? Probably not.
The NCAA has placed Alabama athletics on three years of probation and the football team may be forced to forfeit wins because of some shady textbook distribution. I was as surprised as you are, I didn't know the state of Alabama actually had books of any kind, let alone ones you could learn from. Of all the scandals the Tide could suffer from, this one is more hilarious than harmful. So some athletes got free books and sold them to their friends at bargain basement prices to make a little extra coin. Big deal. As long as they didn't take those dollars to Pensacola, Florida for a little extra-curricular fun in a hotel room, I'm fine with this.
Which brings us back to the Left Coast and the University of Southern California. At this point, a set of six films with this never ending saga might as well be made to explain this predicament. Besides, Rey Maualuga is about as hairy as Chewbacca. The latest installment brings us to the basketball team and the resignation of Tim Floyd. Floyd says he lost a passion to coach months after he turned down the head coaching vacancy at Arizona because he wanted to stay at USC and develop the program. Seems Floyd got out at the right time as he will still get some buyout money from USC before the NCAA can rake him under the bus. Between the shady recruitment of O.J. Mayo and the overall prickly demeanor, I'm glad to see him go. And disagree with me if you like, but Floyd always seemed to get less out of his players than their true potential. A decision on this is likely to come down at the same time the NCAA finishes their investigation of the football team and the 15 Hummers Reggie Bush received in exchange to play for the Trojans.
The summer just isn't a good time for college athletics. The players have nothing to do and now you have them running around all willy-nilly buying textbooks for people and stealing bicycles. Whatever happened to the good old days of getting drunk and driving your car into a nursing home, testing positive for marijuana and assaulting a student with a baseball bat? What I would give for a return to the Neuheisel era of good old fashioned rebellion.
Who Cares Pick of the Week: Jeff Gordon wins the LifeLock 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.
Dunderhead of the Week: A black lab named Jack who found a bag of marijuana in Seattle's Seward Park and ate the bag, becoming stoned. Police report the dog is doing better and has requested a bag of barbeque chips and a copy of Mad Magazine.
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